Resurrecting the day

Resurrecting the day

The early morning air misty
           and heavy with summer scents
and through the silence
           of the reawakening day
come the raucous cries
           of crow and magpie
black and black and white
           and still a primeval innocence
as on that first day
           before there were days
and no note was taken
           and in the distance
the tall trees a shadow
           of themselves though the sun
will soon lift the mantle
           of stupour

Footsteps hasten along the street
           headed for the station
to the train that will transport them
           to a different territory
and all the life that that entails
           Under the moon there may have been
a night of passion or of despair
           or of nothing but the repetition
of nothing with no softness
           or no caress nor any word
of kindness to lift the soul
           the day now ahead
to be improvised
           the rich red rose to be admired
and love never to be forgotten
           and hope never to be abandoned

John Lyons

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

He who in his later years 
           attended Longfellow’s funeral
and muttered : « That gentleman
           was a sweet beautiful soul
but I have entirely forgotten
           his name »

He who at the age of thirty
           had called on Coleridge
in Highgate and described him
           as a short stout old man
with bright blue eyes
           and a fine clear complexion
and noted his addiction to snuff
           of which during the visit
he partook freely
           presently soiling
his cravat
           and his neat black suit

The poet is the sayer
           the namer of things
without impediment

A poem by one who knows
           and tells with thoughts
passionate and alive
           so that its spirit
has an architecture
           of its own

John Lyons

 

War zone

War zone

A commotion of crows
           cawing at my window
a call to arms perhaps
           what are you waiting for
get the job done
           we have been patient
as the days and months
           slipped by and the world
remained the same
           this is our world too
we were here before
           you ever set foot
before you ever appeared
           we roamed the fields
and soared in the skies
           when the earth was
a place of harmony
           free from wars
and bitter divisions :
           blessed are
the peacemakers
           if you can find them

John Lyons

 

Life’s credentials

Life’s credentials

Love
           here where
the petals fell
           and withered
into dust
           remained

Now
           with years
piled upon me
           less supple
of limb
           and mind
less agile
           love remains

Words are actions
           actions words
the deed of truth
           is all that lasts
and life until
           love’s last breath

John Lyons

Lines written at Chartres

Lines written at Chartres

Beauty is in its expression
           in the act of its articulation
in the fact of its confession
           the light that shines through
the stained-glass narratives
           in the huge rose window
of Chartres Cathedral

A story of grace as told
           by the human family
the craft of revelation
           the assertion of faith
and hope in the rendering
           of charity in the unity
of the sun and the stars
           and the earth and the sea
the colourful fragments
           with which the wholeness
is composed – many flowers
           in a single bouquet
the truth that lies in the art

Wake at daybreak
           to the sound of birdsong
sweet as on the day
           of its creation
We are the birds of Chartres
           and in our voices you will hear
only beauty and peace
           and you will know that love
without its expression
           is as dead as the cold
untouched stone that awaits
           the craftsman’s hand

John Lyons

Shadows

Shadows

There have been shadows in my life
           big shadows
in the narrow corners
           of my days
in the perplexed horizons
           of my shuffled nights

There have been black shadows
           that danced without word
around the cradle of my childhood
           shadows without grandfather
without grandmother
           But not for that any less ghostly
any less full
           of horror

There have been shadows in the pulses
           of my feet that have often stumbled
in the light night of midday.
           There have been shadows of flesh and blood
and pestilential kisses
           I wouldn’t want to deny it.

Who has never felt
           the dead weight of shadows
at the rooster’s dismantled hour ?
           Who has never half awoken
to a slick silky
           insatiable hunger
and a sadness
           beyond measure ?

There have been shadows
           on my shoes
on my shirts
           across my illiterate walls
riddled with vain tasks
           that have been left undone
The stuttering shadows
           of  speechless distances
and the inconsolable
           sloth of death
There have been shadows
           my friends

John Lyons

The man on the corner

The man on the corner

So many things await us
           just around the corner :
the summer, the winter,
           spring, happiness,
a disappointment, even death
           or love or a dagger
to the heart

Everything awaits us
           around one corner or another
in the great labyrinth
           of corners that is
this life that deals
           daily with chance

In a story by Borges
           the man on the corner
with a raised hand.
           So many daggers in so many
contrived forms
           They await us
in the lethal labyrinth
           in which aimlessly
we wander
           with frayed threads

John Lyons